In a sector that came under heavy pressure in the second half of last year, ASX ecommerce play Temple & Webster (ASX:TPW) got a little boost this morning following its half-year trading update.

The company said it booked trading revenues of $235.37m for the six months to December 2021, up 46% from the six months ended December 2020.

In a possible indicator of the supply-chain challenges facing inventory businesses, net profits before tax came in at $10.648m — down 26% from the previous period.

Investors looked more favourably on the outlook though, sending TPW shares around 10% higher in morning trade.

That compared favourably to another 12% drop for fellow ecommerce leader (ASX:KGN) on January 27, following a trading update of its own.

TPW has escaped the volatility seen in KGN shares, which have fallen by around 75% from their post-COVID highs.

But at ~$9 this morning, TPW shares are still off their recent peak near $14 reached in August last year.

By the numbers

While TPW’s revenues rose by 46%, TPW’s cost of goods sold expense rose by 47% to $129.66m.

In comments accompanying its announcement, TPW said the profit figure was affected by increased operating costs, including distribution and marketing expenses.

“Operating leverage is being invested into key areas to build strategic moats around the core business, while investing into our new growth horizons such as B2B and Home Improvement,” the company said.

CEO Mark Coulter said the group’s B2B division grew by 49% and the new home improvement offering booked a 95% increase in sales.

TPW is a pure-play online retailer focused on the furniture and homewares market.

“Despite all the challenges that COVID continues to throw at the world, including significant disruptions to global supply chains and domestic logistics, Temple & Webster continues to outgrow the market, while keeping our customers very happy,” Coulter said.

In other ASX ecommerce news

US-based online retail group Zebit (ASX:ZBT) looks set to depart the local bourse, less than two years after listing.

The company went into a trading halt pending a “proposed delisting” from the ASX.

The stock joined the boards in October 2020, with a business model based on a vertically-integrated online shopping platform that also extended debt to consumers with a low credit rating.

Zebit raised $35m from investors at $1.58 per share, but its stock fell sharply on debut.

Since April 2021, ZBT slumped from highs above $1.40 to yesterday’s close of just 19.5c — a fall of almost 90% — amid ongoing investor concerns about its operating model.

Net operating cash outflows for the September quarter came in at US$6.116m.

The group’s latest 4C filing showed it booked net operating cash outflows of US$3.663m in December.

Zebit finished the quarter with just US$7.868m — an indicative cash runway of approximately two more quarters before it would need to raise more funds.